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Monmouth University Polling Institute

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Most Say Opioid Crisis is “Very Serious”

Thursday, August 17, 2017

But few back national emergency declaration

West Long Branch, NJ – The vast majority of Americans see opioid addiction as a serious problem in their home state. According to the latest Monmouth University Poll, the public supports increased funding for intervention and treatment, but does not feel that declaring a national health emergency is the best way to deal with this crisis.

More than 3-in-4 Americans say that opioid addiction is a serious problem in their home state – including a majority of 55% who say it is a very serious problem and another 23% who say it is somewhat serious. Just 1-in-10 say opioid use is not a serious problem (9% not too and 2% not at all).

Residents of the northeastern part of the country are the most likely to say that opioid addiction is a very serious problem in their state (66%), compared with between 48% and 55% of residents in other regions. Americans age 35 and older (60%) are more likely than those under 35 years old (43%) to see opioid addiction as a very serious problem. Also, non-Hispanic whites (59%) are somewhat more likely than Hispanics or Americans of other races (47%) to see this as a very serious problem.

Politically, Republicans (62%) are somewhat more likely than Democrats (54%) and independents (52%) to see opioid addiction as a very serious problem in the state where they live. However, there is little difference in this opinion based on whether one lives in a county that Donald Trump won by ten points or more in 2016 (56%), that Hillary Clinton won by ten points or more (54%), or that was decided by a margin smaller than ten points in last year’s presidential election (54%).

Nearly half of the public report personally knowing someone who has dealt with opioid addiction – including 18% who say this person is a family member and 28% who say they know someone else who has gone through this. White residents (52%) are more likely than non-whites (34%) to report knowing someone with an opioid problem. Those who know someone with an opioid addiction (72%) are more likely than those who do not (41%) to say this is a very serious problem in their state.

“The opioid crisis is pervasive, with the public registering high levels of awareness and concern. Many Americans are willing to increase federal funding for intervention measures, but few feel that declaring a national emergency is an effective step,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.

The president’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis recently issued an interim report. One of their recommendations was declaring a national emergency around this issue. Pres. Trump announced his intent to implement this recommendation last Thursday, just as interviewing began for this poll. Only 1-in-3 Americans (34%) think that such an emergency should be declared while a majority (54%) feel the opioid problem should be dealt with in another way. Fewer than half of Democrats (40%), Republicans (36%), and independents (28%) alike feel that declaring a national emergency is the right course of action. Among those who know someone who has experienced opioid addiction, 39% support declaring a national emergency on the issue while 50% feel the problem should be handled in another way.

Another Commission recommendation receives significantly more public support, with 55% who approve of increased federal funding to make in-patient treatment available to more people. Just 16% oppose this and 29% are unsure. There is some partisan variation in support levels for this proposal, ranging from 65% of Democrats to 54% of independents and 45% of Republicans.

The Commission also proposed increased funding to provide opioid detection sensors for the U.S. postal service and at U.S. customs entry points. Just under half (45%) of the public approves of this idea while 18% disapprove and another 37% are unsure. Republicans (52%) are slightly more likely than Democrats (43%) and independents (43%) to support this recommendation.

The Commission specifically steered away from making any punitive recommendations regarding illicit opioid use. The Monmouth University Poll finds, though, that 38% of Americans approve of imposing stricter criminal penalties for illegal opioid use while 26% disapprove and 36% are unsure. There is a sharp partisan divide on this idea, which was not suggested by the president’s Commission, with a majority of Republicans (56%) supporting stiffer penalties compared to no more than 1-in-3 independents (33%) and Democrats (29%) who agree with this stance.

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone from August 10 to 14, 2017 with 805 adults in the United States.  The results in this release have a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percent.  The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, NJ.

 

QUESTIONS AND RESULTS                                                                        

(* Some columns may not add to 100% due to rounding.)       

 

[Q1–16 previously released.]

 

Now, I’d like to ask you some questions about opioids, which include pain medications like Vicodin and OxyContin as well as street drugs like heroin and fentanyl.

 

17.   How much have you heard about opioid addiction in America – a lot, a little, or nothing at all?

69%     A lot

22%     A little

  9%     Nothing at all

 

18.   Is opioid addiction a very serious, somewhat serious, not too serious, or not at all serious problem in the state where you live?

55%     Very serious

23%     Somewhat serious

  9%     Not too serious

  2%     Not at all serious

11%     (VOL) Don’t know

 

19.   Should President Trump declare a national health emergency to deal with the opioid addiction problem or should this be dealt with in another way?

34%     Declare a national health emergency

54%     Dealt with in another way

12%     (VOL) Don’t know

 

[QUESTIONS 20 - 22 WERE ROTATED]

20.   Do you approve or disapprove of increasing federal funding to make in-patient opioid addiction treatment available to more people, or are you not sure?

55%     Approve

16%     Disapprove

29%     Not sure

 

21.   Do you approve or disapprove of increasing federal funding to provide opioid detection sensors for the U.S. postal service and for U.S. customs agents at our ports, or are you not sure?

45%     Approve

18%     Disapprove

37%     Not sure

 

22.   Do you approve or disapprove of imposing stricter criminal penalties for illegal opioid use, or are you not sure?

38%     Approve

26%     Disapprove

36%     Not sure

 

23.   Do you personally know someone who has dealt with an opioid addiction, or not? [IF YES: Is this person in your immediate family?]

18%     Yes, immediate family

28%     Yes, other

53%     No, no one

  1%     (VOL) Don’t know

 

METHODOLOGY

The Monmouth University Poll was sponsored and conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute from August 10 to 14, 2017 with a national random sample of 805 adults age 18 and older, in English. This includes 401 contacted by a live interviewer on a landline telephone and 404 contacted by a live interviewer on a cell phone. Telephone numbers were selected through random digit dialing and landline respondents were selected with a modified Troldahl-Carter youngest adult household screen. Monmouth is responsible for all aspects of the survey design, data weighting and analysis. Final sample is weighted for region, age, education, gender and race based on US Census information. Data collection support provided by Braun Research (field) and SSI (RDD sample). For results based on this sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling has a maximum margin of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points (unadjusted for sample design).  Sampling error can be larger for sub-groups (see table below). In addition to sampling error, one should bear in mind that question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of opinion polls.

Click on pdf file link below for full methodology and results by key demographic groups.

 

 

Download this Poll Report with all tables

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Monmouth University Poll

West Long Branch, NJ 07764
www.monmouth.edu/polling
Follow on Twitter: @MonmouthPoll

Patrick Murray

732-263-5858 (office)
pdmurray@monmouth.edu
Follow on Twitter: @PollsterPatrick

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